Publications by authors named "Ann-Marie Patch"

67 Publications

Identification of a Locus Near Associated With Progression-Free Survival in Ovarian Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 Sep 23;30(9):1669-1680. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Gynecologic Oncology Center, Kiel, Germany.

Background: Many loci have been found to be associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). However, although there is considerable variation in progression-free survival (PFS), no loci have been found to be associated with outcome at genome-wide levels of significance.

Methods: We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of PFS in 2,352 women with EOC who had undergone cytoreductive surgery and standard carboplatin/paclitaxel chemotherapy.

Results: We found seven SNPs at 12q24.33 associated with PFS ( < 5 × 10), the top SNP being rs10794418 (HR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.15-1.34; = 1.47 × 10). High expression of a nearby gene, , is associated with shorter PFS in EOC, and with poor prognosis in other cancers. SNP rs10794418 is also associated with expression of in ovarian tumors, with the allele associated with shorter PFS being associated with higher expression, and chromatin interactions were detected between the promoter and associated SNPs in serous and endometrioid EOC cell lines. ULK1 knockout ovarian cancer cell lines showed significantly increased sensitivity to carboplatin .

Conclusions: The locus at 12q24.33 represents one of the first genome-wide significant loci for survival for any cancer. is a plausible candidate for the target of this association.

Impact: This finding provides insight into genetic markers associated with EOC outcome and potential treatment options..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1817DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8419101PMC
September 2021

Evaluation of Crizotinib Treatment in a Patient With Unresectable GOPC-ROS1 Fusion Agminated Spitz Nevi.

JAMA Dermatol 2021 Jul;157(7):836-841

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

Importance: Spitz nevi are benign melanocytic neoplasms that classically present in childhood. Isolated Spitz nevi have been associated with oncogenic gene fusions in approximately 50% of cases. The rare agminated variant of Spitz nevi, thought to arise from cutaneous genetic mosaicism, is characterized by development of clusters of multiple lesions in a segmental distribution, which can complicate surgical removal. Somatic single-nucleotide variants in the HRAS oncogene have been described in agminated Spitz nevi, most of which were associated with an underlying nevus spilus. The use of targeted medical therapy for agminated Spitz nevi is not well understood.

Observations: A girl aged 30 months presented with facial agminated Spitz nevi that recurred rapidly and extensively after surgery. Owing to the morbidity of further surgery, referral was made to a molecular tumor board. The patient's archival nevus tissue was submitted for extended immunohistochemical analysis and genetic sequencing. Strong ROS1 protein expression was identified by immunohistochemistry. Consistent with this, analysis of whole-genome sequencing data revealed GOPC-ROS1 fusions. These results indicated likely benefit from the oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor crizotinib, which was administered at a dosage of 280 mg/m2 twice daily. An excellent response was observed in all lesions within 5 weeks, with complete flattening after 20 weeks.

Conclusions And Relevance: Given the response following crizotinib treatment observed in this case, the kinase fusion was believed to be functionally consequential in the patient's agminated Spitz nevi and likely the driver mutational event for growth of her nevi. The repurposing of crizotinib for GOPC-ROS1 Spitz nevi defines a new treatment option for these lesions, particularly in cases for which surgery is relatively contraindicated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.0025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173474PMC
July 2021

DNA methylation patterns identify subgroups of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors with clinical association.

Commun Biol 2021 02 3;4(1):155. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, 2006, Australia.

Here we report the DNA methylation profile of 84 sporadic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs) with associated clinical and genomic information. We identified three subgroups of PanNETs, termed T1, T2 and T3, with distinct patterns of methylation. The T1 subgroup was enriched for functional tumors and ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 wild-type genotypes. The T2 subgroup contained tumors with mutations in ATRX, DAXX and MEN1 and recurrent patterns of chromosomal losses in half of the genome with no association between regions with recurrent loss and methylation levels. T2 tumors were larger and had lower methylation in the MGMT gene body, which showed positive correlation with gene expression. The T3 subgroup harboured mutations in MEN1 with recurrent loss of chromosome 11, was enriched for grade G1 tumors and showed histological parameters associated with better prognosis. Our results suggest a role for methylation in both driving tumorigenesis and potentially stratifying prognosis in PanNETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01469-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859232PMC
February 2021

Injection site vaccinology of a recombinant vaccinia-based vector reveals diverse innate immune signatures.

PLoS Pathog 2021 01 13;17(1):e1009215. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Inflammation Biology Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.

Poxvirus systems have been extensively used as vaccine vectors. Herein a RNA-Seq analysis of intramuscular injection sites provided detailed insights into host innate immune responses, as well as expression of vector and recombinant immunogen genes, after vaccination with a new multiplication defective, vaccinia-based vector, Sementis Copenhagen Vector. Chikungunya and Zika virus immunogen mRNA and protein expression was associated with necrosing skeletal muscle cells surrounded by mixed cellular infiltrates. The multiple adjuvant signatures at 12 hours post-vaccination were dominated by TLR3, 4 and 9, STING, MAVS, PKR and the inflammasome. Th1 cytokine signatures were dominated by IFNγ, TNF and IL1β, and chemokine signatures by CCL5 and CXCL12. Multiple signatures associated with dendritic cell stimulation were evident. By day seven, vaccine transcripts were absent, and cell death, neutrophil, macrophage and inflammation annotations had abated. No compelling arthritis signatures were identified. Such injection site vaccinology approaches should inform refinements in poxvirus-based vector design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7837487PMC
January 2021

Whole-genome sequencing of acral melanoma reveals genomic complexity and diversity.

Nat Commun 2020 10 16;11(1):5259. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Center for Rare Melanomas, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

To increase understanding of the genomic landscape of acral melanoma, a rare form of melanoma occurring on palms, soles or nail beds, whole genome sequencing of 87 tumors with matching transcriptome sequencing for 63 tumors was performed. Here we report that mutational signature analysis reveals a subset of tumors, mostly subungual, with an ultraviolet radiation signature. Significantly mutated genes are BRAF, NRAS, NF1, NOTCH2, PTEN and TYRP1. Mutations and amplification of KIT are also common. Structural rearrangement and copy number signatures show that whole genome duplication, aneuploidy and complex rearrangements are common. Complex rearrangements occur recurrently and are associated with amplification of TERT, CDK4, MDM2, CCND1, PAK1 and GAB2, indicating potential therapeutic options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18988-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567804PMC
October 2020

The Impact of Next Generation Sequencing in Cancer Research.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 12;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 12.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, 4006 Queensland, Australia.

Next generation sequencing (NGS) describes the technical revolution that enabled massively parallel sequencing of fragmented nucleic acids, thus making possible our current genomic understanding of cancers [...].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102928DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7601779PMC
October 2020

FGFR2c Mesenchymal Isoform Expression Is Associated with Poor Prognosis and Further Refines Risk Stratification within Endometrial Cancer Molecular Subtypes.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 09 15;26(17):4569-4580. Epub 2020 May 15.

Queensland University of Technology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, located at the Translational Research Institute, PA Hospital Campus, 37 Kent St Woolloongabba, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Purpose: The two most common molecular subtypes of endometrial cancers, mismatch repair deficient (MMRd) and p53 wild-type (p53wt) comprise the majority of endometrial cancers and have intermediate prognoses where additional risk stratification biomarkers are needed. Isoform switching of FGFR2 from FGFR2b to FGFR2c (normally expressed in mesenchymal cells), has been reported in other solid carcinomas. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of FGFR2c in risk stratification of endometrial cancer.

Experimental Design: We have developed and optimized a BaseScope RNA ISH assay to detect FGFR2c. FGFR2c expression was determined in a preliminary screening cohort of 78 endometrial cancers and a clinically and molecularly annotated Vancouver cohort ( = 465). Cox regression model analyses were performed to assess the prognostic value of FGFR2c.

Results: Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed FGFR2c expression was significantly associated with shorter disease-specific survival (DSS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in endometrioid endometrial cancer (EEC, = 302). Notably, FGFR2c expression was significantly associated with shorter PFS and DSS in patients with grade 3 EECs ( < 0.003 and < 0.002) and the European Society Medical Oncology (ESMO) high-risk group ( < 0.0001 and < 0.002), respectively. Moreover, within the MMRd subtype, FGFR2c expression was significantly associated with shorter PFS ( < 0.048) and DSS ( < 0.001).

Conclusions: FGFR2c expression appears an independent prognostic biomarker in patients with EEC and further discerns the outcomes within grade 3 tumors, ESMO high-risk groups, as well as within the MMRd and p53wt subtypes. FGFR2c inclusion into future molecular subtyping can further refine risk stratification of EEC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-4088DOI Listing
September 2020

Mutation Marks an Aggressive Subtype of Mutant Colorectal Cancers.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 May 6;12(5). Epub 2020 May 6.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia.

Background: WNT activation is a hallmark of colorectal cancer. mutation is present in 15% of colorectal cancers, and the role of mutations in WNT signaling regulators in this context is unclear. Here, we evaluate the mutational landscape of WNT signaling regulators in mutant cancers.

Methods: we performed exome-sequencing on 24 BRAF mutant colorectal cancers and analyzed these data in combination with 175 publicly available BRAF mutant colorectal cancer exomes. We assessed the somatic mutational landscape of WNT signaling regulators, and performed hotspot and driver mutation analyses to identify potential drivers of WNT signaling. The effects of Apc and Braf mutation were modelled, in vivo, using the Apc and Braf/Villin-Cre mouse, respectively.

Results: RNF43 was the most frequently mutated WNT signaling regulator (41%). Mutations in the beta-catenin destruction complex occurred in 48% of cancers. Hotspot analyses identified potential cancer driver genes in the WNT signaling cascade, including MEN1, GNG12 and WNT16. Truncating APC mutation was identified in 20.8% of cancers. Truncating APC mutation was associated with early age at diagnosis (p < 2 × 10), advanced stage (p < 0.01), and poor survival (p = 0.026). Apc/Braf animals had more numerous and larger SI and colonic lesions (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.05, respectively), and a markedly reduced survival (median survival: 3.2 months, p = 8.8 × 10), compared to animals with Apc or Braf mutation alone.

Conclusions: the WNT signaling axis is frequently mutated in BRAF mutant colorectal cancers. WNT16 and MEN1 may be novel drivers of aberrant WNT signaling in colorectal cancer. Co-mutation of BRAF and APC generates an extremely aggressive neoplastic phenotype that is associated with poor patient outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281581PMC
May 2020

Alterations in signaling pathways that accompany spontaneous transition to malignancy in a mouse model of BRAF mutant microsatellite stable colorectal cancer.

Neoplasia 2020 02 11;22(2):120-128. Epub 2020 Jan 11.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Conjoint Internal Medicine Laboratory, Pathology Queensland, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The serrated neoplasia pathway gives rise to a distinct subgroup of colorectal cancers distinguished by the presence of mutant BRAF and the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (CIMP). BRAF mutant CRC are commonly associated with microsatellite instability, which have an excellent clinical outcome. However, a proportion of BRAF mutant CRC retain microsatellite stability and have a dismal prognosis. The molecular drivers responsible for the development of this cancer subgroup are unknown. To address this, we established a murine model of BRAF mutant microsatellite stable CRC and comprehensively investigated the exome and transcriptome to identify molecular alterations in signaling pathways that drive malignancy. Exome sequencing of murine serrated lesions (mSL) and carcinomas identified frequent hot spot mutations within the gene encoding β-catenin (Ctnnb1). Immunohistochemical staining of β-catenin indicated that these mutations led to an increase in the presence of aberrant nuclear β-catenin that resulted in gene expression changes in targets of β-catenin transcription. Gene expression profiling identified a significant enrichment for transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling that was present in mSL and carcinomas. Early activation of TGF-β suggests that this pathway may be an early cue directing mSL to microsatellite stable carcinoma. These findings in the mouse model support the importance of alterations in WNT and TGF-β signaling during the transition of human sessile serrated lesions to malignancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neo.2019.12.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6961716PMC
February 2020

Evaluation of the contribution of germline variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2 to uveal and cutaneous melanoma.

Melanoma Res 2019 10;29(5):483-490

Oncogenomics Group.

Germline mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 predispose individuals to a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and elevated risk of other cancers, including those of the pancreas and prostate. BRCA2 mutation carriers may have increased risk of uveal melanoma (UM) and cutaneous melanoma (CM), but associations with these cancers in BRCA1 mutation carriers have been mixed. Here, we further assessed whether UM and CM are associated with BRCA1 or BRCA2 by assessing the presence, segregation and reported/predicted pathogenicity of rare germline mutations (variant allele frequency < 0.01) in families with multiple members affected by these cancers. Whole-genome or exome sequencing was performed on 160 CM and/or UM families from Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. Between one and five cases were sequenced from each family, totalling 307 individuals. Sanger sequencing was performed to validate BRCA1 and BRCA2 germline variants and to assess carrier status in other available family members. A nonsense and a frameshift mutation were identified in BRCA1, both resulting in premature truncation of the protein (the first at p.Q516 and the second at codon 91, after the introduction of seven amino acids due to a frameshift deletion). These variants co-segregated with CM in individuals who consented for testing and were present in individuals with pancreatic, prostate and breast cancer in the respective families. In addition, 33 rare missense mutations (variant allele frequency ranging from 0.00782 to 0.000001 in the aggregated ExAC data) were identified in 34 families. Examining the previously reported evidence of functional consequence of these variants revealed all had been classified as either benign or of unknown consequence. Seeking further evidence of an association between BRCA1 variants and melanoma, we examined two whole-genome/exome sequenced collections of sporadic CM patients (total N = 763). We identified one individual with a deleterious BRCA1 variant, however, this allele was lost (with the wild-type allele remaining) in the corresponding CM, indicating that defective BRCA1 was not a driver of tumorigenesis in this instance. Although this is the first time that deleterious BRCA1 mutations have been described in high-density CM families, we conclude that there is an insufficient burden of evidence to state that the increased familial CM or UM susceptibility is because of these variants. In addition, in conjunction with other studies, we conclude that the previously described association between BRCA2 mutations and UM susceptibility represents a rare source of increased risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CMR.0000000000000613DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716616PMC
October 2019

Whole-genome landscape of mucosal melanoma reveals diverse drivers and therapeutic targets.

Nat Commun 2019 07 18;10(1):3163. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 94143, USA.

Knowledge of key drivers and therapeutic targets in mucosal melanoma is limited due to the paucity of comprehensive mutation data on this rare tumor type. To better understand the genomic landscape of mucosal melanoma, here we describe whole genome sequencing analysis of 67 tumors and validation of driver gene mutations by exome sequencing of 45 tumors. Tumors have a low point mutation burden and high numbers of structural variants, including recurrent structural rearrangements targeting TERT, CDK4 and MDM2. Significantly mutated genes are NRAS, BRAF, NF1, KIT, SF3B1, TP53, SPRED1, ATRX, HLA-A and CHD8. SF3B1 mutations occur more commonly in female genital and anorectal melanomas and CTNNB1 mutations implicate a role for WNT signaling defects in the genesis of some mucosal melanomas. TERT aberrations and ATRX mutations are associated with alterations in telomere length. Mutation profiles of the majority of mucosal melanomas suggest potential susceptibility to CDK4/6 and/or MEK inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11107-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6639323PMC
July 2019

Integrative Genome-Scale DNA Methylation Analysis of a Large and Unselected Cohort Reveals 5 Distinct Subtypes of Colorectal Adenocarcinomas.

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 5;8(2):269-290. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Conjoint Gastroenterology Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia; School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia; Chemical Pathology Department, Pathology Queensland, Queensland, Australia.

Background & Aims: Colorectal cancer is an epigenetically heterogeneous disease, however, the extent and spectrum of the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is not clear.

Methods: Genome-scale methylation and transcript expression were measured by DNA Methylation and RNA expression microarray in 216 unselected colorectal cancers, and findings were validated using The Cancer Genome Atlas 450K and RNA sequencing data. Mutations in epigenetic regulators were assessed using CIMP-subtyped Cancer Genome Atlas exomes.

Results: CIMP-high cancers dichotomized into CIMP-H1 and CIMP-H2 based on methylation profile. KRAS mutation was associated significantly with CIMP-H2 cancers, but not CIMP-H1 cancers. Congruent with increasing methylation, there was a stepwise increase in patient age from 62 years in the CIMP-negative subgroup to 75 years in the CIMP-H1 subgroup (P < .0001). CIMP-H1 predominantly comprised consensus molecular subtype 1 cancers (70%) whereas consensus molecular subtype 3 was over-represented in the CIMP-H2 subgroup (55%). Polycomb Repressive Complex-2 (PRC2)-marked loci were subjected to significant gene body methylation in CIMP cancers (P < 1.6 × 10). We identified oncogenes susceptible to gene body methylation and Wnt pathway antagonists resistant to gene body methylation. CIMP cluster-specific mutations were observed in chromatin remodeling genes, such as in the SWItch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable and Chromodomain Helicase DNA-Binding gene families.

Conclusions: There are 5 clinically and molecularly distinct subgroups of colorectal cancer. We show a striking association between CIMP and age, sex, and tumor location, and identify a role for gene body methylation in the progression of serrated neoplasia. These data support our recent findings that CIMP is uncommon in young patients and that BRAF mutant polyps in young patients may have limited potential for malignant progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmgh.2019.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699251PMC
July 2020

Intratumoural Heterogeneity Underlies Distinct Therapy Responses and Treatment Resistance in Glioblastoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Feb 6;11(2). Epub 2019 Feb 6.

Cell and Molecular Biology Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane 4006, QLD, Australia.

Glioblastomas are the most common and lethal neoplasms of the central nervous system. Neighbouring glioma cells maintain extreme degrees of genetic and phenotypic variation that form intratumoural heterogeneity. This genetic diversity allows the most adaptive tumour clones to develop treatment resistance, ultimately leading to disease recurrence. We aimed to model this phenomenon and test the effectiveness of several targeted therapeutic interventions to overcome therapy resistance. Heterogeneous tumour masses were first deconstructed into single tumour cells, which were expanded independently as single-cell clones. Single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, whole-genome and RNA sequencing, and CpG methylation analysis validated the unique molecular profile of each tumour clone, which displayed distinct pathologic features, including cell morphology, growth rate, and resistance to temozolomide and ionizing radiation. We also identified variable sensitivities to AURK, CDK, and EGFR inhibitors which were consistent with the heterogeneous molecular alterations that each clone harboured. These targeted therapies effectively eliminated the temozolomide- and/or irradiation-resistant clones and also parental polyclonal cells. Our findings indicate that polyclonal tumours create a dynamic environment that consists of diverse tumour elements and treatment responses. Designing targeted therapies based on a range of molecular profiles can be a more effective strategy to eradicate treatment resistance, recurrence, and metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11020190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406894PMC
February 2019

Complex structural rearrangements are present in high-grade dysplastic Barrett's oesophagus samples.

BMC Med Genomics 2019 02 4;12(1):31. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Surgical Oncology Group, Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba, Brisbane, QLD, 4102, Australia.

Background: Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) incidence is increasing and has a poor survival rate. Barrett's oesophagus (BE) is a precursor condition that is associated with EAC and often occurs in conjunction with chronic gastro-oesophageal reflux, however many individuals diagnosed with BE never progress to cancer. An understanding of the genomic features of BE and EAC may help with the early identification of at-risk individuals.

Methods: In this study, we assessed the genomic features of 16 BE samples using whole-genome sequencing. These included non-dysplastic samples collected at two time-points from two BE patients who had not progressed to EAC over several years. Seven other non-dysplastic samples and five dysplastic BE samples with high-grade dysplasia were also examined. We compared the genome profiles of these 16 BE samples with 22 EAC samples.

Results: We observed that samples from the two non-progressor individuals had low numbers of somatic single nucleotide variants, indels and structural variation events compared to dysplastic and the remaining non-dysplastic BE. EAC had the highest level of somatic genomic variations. Mutational signature 17, which is common in EAC, was also present in non-dysplastic and dysplastic BE, but was not present in the non-progressors. Many dysplastic samples had mutations in genes previously reported in EAC, whereas only mutations in CDKN2A or in the fragile site genes appeared common in non-dysplastic samples. Rearrangement signatures were used to identify a signature associated with localised complex events such as chromothripsis and breakage fusion-bridge that are characteristic of EACs. Two dysplastic BE samples had a high contribution of this signature and contained evidence of localised rearrangements. Two other dysplastic samples also had regions of localised structural rearrangements. There was no evidence for complex events in non-dysplastic samples.

Conclusions: The presence of complex localised rearrangements in dysplastic samples indicates a need for further investigations into the role such events play in the progression from BE to EAC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12920-019-0476-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360790PMC
February 2019

Correction: Homozygosity mapping provides supporting evidence of pathogenicity in recessive Mendelian disease.

Genet Med 2019 03;21(3):766

Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

The original version of this Article contained an error in the top left of Figure 2: the number 1 on the y-axis had been changed to 0 during the typesetting process. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0357-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752275PMC
March 2019

Homozygosity mapping provides supporting evidence of pathogenicity in recessive Mendelian disease.

Genet Med 2019 04 3;21(4):982-986. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

Purpose: One of the greatest challenges currently facing those studying Mendelian disease is identifying the pathogenic variant from the long list produced by a next-generation sequencing test. We investigate the predictive ability of homozygosity mapping for identifying the regions likely to contain the causative variant.

Methods: We use 179 homozygous pathogenic variants from three independent cohorts to investigate the predictive power of homozygosity mapping.

Results: We demonstrate that homozygous pathogenic variants in our cohorts are disproportionately likely to be found within one of the largest regions of homozygosity: 80% of pathogenic variants are found in a homozygous region that is in the ten largest regions in a sample. The maximal predictive power is achieved in patients with <8% homozygosity and variants >3 Mb from a telomere; this gives an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.735 and results in 92% of the causative variants being in one of the ten largest homozygous regions.

Conclusion: This predictive power can be used to prioritize the list of candidate variants in gene discovery studies. When classifying a homozygous variant the size and rank of the region of homozygosity in which the candidate variant is located can also be considered as supporting evidence for pathogenicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0281-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6330071PMC
April 2019

Whole genome sequencing of melanomas in adolescent and young adults reveals distinct mutation landscapes and the potential role of germline variants in disease susceptibility.

Int J Cancer 2019 03 21;144(5):1049-1060. Epub 2018 Nov 21.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Cutaneous melanoma accounts for at least >10% of all cancers in adolescents and young adults (AYA, 15-30 years of age) in Western countries. To date, little is known about the correlations between germline variants and somatic mutations and mutation signatures in AYA melanoma patients that might explain why they have developed a cancer predominantly affecting those over 65 years of age. We performed genomic analysis of 50 AYA melanoma patients (onset 10-30 years, median 20); 25 underwent whole genome sequencing (WGS) of both tumor and germline DNA, exome data were retrieved from 12 TCGA AYA cases, and targeted DNA sequencing was conducted on 13 cases. The AYA cases were compared with WGS data from 121 adult cutaneous melanomas. Similar to mature adult cutaneous melanomas, AYA melanomas showed a high mutation burden and mutation signatures of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) damage. The frequencies of somatic mutations in BRAF (96%) and PTEN (36%) in the AYA WGS cohort were double the rates observed in adult melanomas (Q < 6.0 × 10 and 0.028, respectively). Furthermore, AYA melanomas contained a higher proportion of non-UVR-related mutation signatures than mature adult melanomas as a proportion of total mutation burden (p = 2.0 × 10 ). Interestingly, these non-UVR mutation signatures relate to APOBEC or mismatch repair pathways, and germline variants in related genes were observed in some of these cases. We conclude that AYA melanomas harbor some of the same molecular aberrations and mutagenic insults occurring in older adults, but in different proportions. Germline variants that may have conferred disease susceptibility correlated with somatic mutation signatures in a subset of AYA melanomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.31791DOI Listing
March 2019

Telomere sequence content can be used to determine ALT activity in tumours.

Nucleic Acids Res 2018 06;46(10):4903-4918

Telomere Length Regulation Unit, Children's Medical Research Institute, University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

The replicative immortality of human cancer cells is achieved by activation of a telomere maintenance mechanism (TMM). To achieve this, cancer cells utilise either the enzyme telomerase, or the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway. These distinct molecular pathways are incompletely understood with respect to activation and propagation, as well as their associations with clinical outcomes. We have identified significant differences in the telomere repeat composition of tumours that use ALT compared to tumours that do not. We then employed a machine learning approach to stratify tumours according to telomere repeat content with an accuracy of 91.6%. Importantly, this classification approach is applicable across all tumour types. Analysis of pathway mutations that were under-represented in ALT tumours, across 1,075 tumour samples, revealed that the autophagy, cell cycle control of chromosomal replication, and transcriptional regulatory network in embryonic stem cells pathways are involved in the survival of ALT tumours. Overall, our approach demonstrates that telomere sequence content can be used to stratify ALT activity in cancers, and begin to define the molecular pathways involved in ALT activation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky297DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007693PMC
June 2018

Malignant cells from pleural fluids in malignant mesothelioma patients reveal novel mutations.

Lung Cancer 2018 05 9;119:64-70. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, 6009, Australia. Electronic address:

Objectives: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an asbestos related tumour affecting cells of serosal cavities. More than 70% of MM patients develop pleural effusions which contain tumour cells, representing a readily accessible source of malignant cells for genetic analysis. Although common somatic mutations and losses have been identified in solid MM tumours, the characterization of tumour cells within pleural effusions could provide novel insights but is little studied.

Materials And Methods: DNA and RNA were extracted from cells from short term cultures of 27 human MM pleural effusion samples. Whole exome and transcriptome sequencing was performed using the Ion Torrent platform. Somatic mutations were identified using VarScan2 and SomaticSniper. Copy number alterations were identified using ExomeCNV in R. Significant copy number alterations were identified across all samples using GISTIC2.0. The association between tumour intrinsic properties and survival was analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards regression model.

Results: We identified BAP1, CDKN2A and NF2 alterations in the cells from MM pleural effusions at a higher frequency than what is typically seen in MM tumours from surgical series. The median mutation rate was 1.09 mutations/Mb. TRAF7 and LATS2 alterations were also identified at a high frequency (66% and 59% respectively). Novel regions of interest were identified, including alterations in FGFR3, and the regions 19p13.3, 8p23.1 and 1p36.32.

Conclusion: Short term cultures of tumour cells from MM pleural effusions offer an accessible alternative to surgical tumour biopsies in the study of MM genomics and reveal novel mutations of interest. Pleural effusion tumour cells provide an opportunity for the monitoring of tumour dynamics, treatment response and the clonal evolution of MM tumours.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.03.009DOI Listing
May 2018

Copy number profiles of paired primary and metastatic colorectal cancers.

Oncotarget 2018 Jan 15;9(3):3394-3405. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

Conjoint Gastroenterology Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.

Liver metastasis is the major cause of death following a diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we compared the copy number profiles of paired primary and liver metastatic CRC to better understand how the genomic structure of primary CRC differs from the metastasis. Paired primary and metastatic tumors from 16 patients and their adjacent normal tissue samples were analyzed using single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Genome-wide chromosomal copy number alterations were assessed, with particular attention to 188 genes known to be somatically altered in CRC and 24 genes that are clinically actionable in CRC. These data were analyzed with respect to the timing of primary and metastatic tissue resection and with exposure to chemotherapy. The genomic differences between the tumor and paired metastases revealed an average copy number discordance of 22.0%. The pairs of tumor samples collected prior to treatment revealed significantly higher copy number differences compared to post-therapy liver metastases ( = 0.014). Loss of heterozygosity acquired in liver metastases was significantly higher in previously treated liver metastasis samples compared to treatment naive liver metastasis samples ( = 0.003). Amplification of the clinically actionable genes , , or was observed in the metastatic tissue of 4 patients but not in the paired primary CRC. These examples highlight the intra-patient genomic discrepancies that can occur between metastases and the primary tumors from which they arose. We propose that precision medicine strategies may therefore identify different actionable targets in metastatic tissue, compared to primary tumors, due to substantial genomic differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5790471PMC
January 2018

Germline and somatic variant identification using BGISEQ-500 and HiSeq X Ten whole genome sequencing.

PLoS One 2018 10;13(1):e0190264. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Technological innovation and increased affordability have contributed to the widespread adoption of genome sequencing technologies in biomedical research. In particular large cancer research consortia have embraced next generation sequencing, and have used the technology to define the somatic mutation landscape of multiple cancer types. These studies have primarily utilised the Illumina HiSeq platforms. In this study we performed whole genome sequencing of three malignant pleural mesothelioma and matched normal samples using a new platform, the BGISEQ-500, and compared the results obtained with Illumina HiSeq X Ten. Germline and somatic, single nucleotide variants and small insertions or deletions were independently identified from data aligned human genome reference. The BGISEQ-500 and HiSeq X Ten platforms showed high concordance for germline calls with genotypes from SNP arrays (>99%). The germline and somatic single nucleotide variants identified in both sequencing platforms were highly concordant (86% and 72% respectively). These results indicate the potential applicability of the BGISEQ-500 platform for the identification of somatic and germline single nucleotide variants by whole genome sequencing. The BGISEQ-500 datasets described here represent the first publicly-available cancer genome sequencing performed using this platform.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190264PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5761881PMC
February 2018

A2AR Adenosine Signaling Suppresses Natural Killer Cell Maturation in the Tumor Microenvironment.

Cancer Res 2018 02 11;78(4):1003-1016. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Immunology in Cancer and Infection Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Queensland, Australia.

Extracellular adenosine is a key immunosuppressive metabolite that restricts activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes and impairs antitumor immune responses. Here, we show that engagement of A2A adenosine receptor (A2AR) acts as a checkpoint that limits the maturation of natural killer (NK) cells. Both global and NK-cell-specific conditional deletion of A2AR enhanced proportions of terminally mature NK cells at homeostasis, following reconstitution, and in the tumor microenvironment. Notably, A2AR-deficient, terminally mature NK cells retained proliferative capacity and exhibited heightened reconstitution in competitive transfer assays. Moreover, targeting A2AR specifically on NK cells also improved tumor control and delayed tumor initiation. Taken together, our results establish A2AR-mediated adenosine signaling as an intrinsic negative regulator of NK-cell maturation and antitumor immune responses. On the basis of these findings, we propose that administering A2AR antagonists concurrently with NK cell-based therapies may heighten therapeutic benefits by augmenting NK cell-mediated antitumor immunity. Ablating adenosine signaling is found to promote natural killer cell maturation and antitumor immunity and reduce tumor growth. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-2826DOI Listing
February 2018

Homologous Recombination DNA Repair Pathway Disruption and Retinoblastoma Protein Loss Are Associated with Exceptional Survival in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2018 02 23;24(3):569-580. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Women with epithelial ovarian cancer generally have a poor prognosis; however, a subset of patients has an unexpected dramatic and durable response to treatment. We sought to identify clinical, pathological, and molecular determinants of exceptional survival in women with high-grade serous cancer (HGSC), a disease associated with the majority of ovarian cancer deaths. We evaluated the histories of 2,283 ovarian cancer patients and, after applying stringent clinical and pathological selection criteria, identified 96 with HGSC that represented significant outliers in terms of treatment response and overall survival. Patient samples were characterized immunohistochemically and by genome sequencing. Different patterns of clinical response were seen: long progression-free survival (Long-PFS), multiple objective responses to chemotherapy (Multiple Responder), and/or greater than 10-year overall survival (Long-Term Survivors). Pathogenic germline and somatic mutations in genes involved in homologous recombination (HR) repair were enriched in all three groups relative to a population-based series. However, 29% of 10-year survivors lacked an identifiable HR pathway alteration, and tumors from these patients had increased Ki-67 staining. CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were more commonly present in Long-Term Survivors. RB1 loss was associated with long progression-free and overall survival. HR deficiency and RB1 loss were correlated, and co-occurrence was significantly associated with prolonged survival. There was diversity in the clinical trajectory of exceptional survivors associated with multiple molecular determinants of exceptional outcome in HGSC patients. Concurrent HR deficiency and RB1 loss were associated with favorable outcomes, suggesting that co-occurrence of specific mutations might mediate durable responses in such patients. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-1621DOI Listing
February 2018

Long Noncoding RNAs CUPID1 and CUPID2 Mediate Breast Cancer Risk at 11q13 by Modulating the Response to DNA Damage.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Aug;101(2):255-266

Cancer Division, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia. Electronic address:

Breast cancer risk is strongly associated with an intergenic region on 11q13. We have previously shown that the strongest risk-associated SNPs fall within a distal enhancer that regulates CCND1. Here, we report that, in addition to regulating CCND1, this enhancer regulates two estrogen-regulated long noncoding RNAs, CUPID1 and CUPID2. We provide evidence that the risk-associated SNPs are associated with reduced chromatin looping between the enhancer and the CUPID1 and CUPID2 bidirectional promoter. We further show that CUPID1 and CUPID2 are predominantly expressed in hormone-receptor-positive breast tumors and play a role in modulating pathway choice for the repair of double-strand breaks. These data reveal a mechanism for the involvement of this region in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.07.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544418PMC
August 2017

and Mutations Co-occur and Cooperate in Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinomas.

Cancer Res 2017 08 23;77(16):4268-4278. Epub 2017 Jun 23.

Centre for Cancer Research, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Low-grade serous ovarian carcinomas (LGSC) are associated with a poor response to chemotherapy and are molecularly characterized by RAS pathway activation. Using exome and whole genome sequencing, we identified recurrent mutations in the protein translational regulator and in , and RAS pathway mutations were mutually exclusive; however, we found significant co-occurrence of mutations in and Missense mutations were clustered at the N-terminus of the protein in a region associated with its role in ensuring translational initiation fidelity. Coexpression of mutant and proteins promoted proliferation and clonogenic survival in LGSC cells, providing the first example of co-occurring, growth-promoting mutational events in ovarian cancer. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2224DOI Listing
August 2017

Whole exome sequencing of an asbestos-induced wild-type murine model of malignant mesothelioma.

BMC Cancer 2017 06 2;17(1):396. Epub 2017 Jun 2.

National Centre for Asbestos Related Disease, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, QEII Medical Centre, University of Western Australia, QQ Block, 6 Verdun Street, Nedlands, WA, 6009, Australia.

Background: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer of the pleural and peritoneal cavities caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos-induced mesotheliomas in wild-type mice have been used extensively as a preclinical model because they are phenotypically identical to their human counterpart. However, it is not known if the genetic lesions in these mice tumours are similar to in the human disease, a prerequisite for any new preclinical studies that target genetic abnormalities.

Methods: We performed whole exome sequencing of fifteen asbestos-induced murine MM tumour cell lines from BALB/c, CBA and C57BL/6 mouse strains and compared the somatic mutations and copy number variations with those recurrently reported in human MM. We then catalogued and characterised the mutational landscape of the wild-type murine MM tumours. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to interrogate the expression of key MM genes of interest in the mRNA.

Results: Consistent with human MM tumours, we identified homozygous loss of the tumour suppressor Cdkn2a in 14/15 tumours. One tumour retained the first exon of both of the p16INK4a and p19ARF isoforms though this tumour also contained genetic amplification of Myc resulting in increased expression of the c-Myc proto-oncogene in the mRNA. There were no chromosomal losses in either the Bap1 or Nf2 regions. One tumour harbored homozygous loss of Trp53 in the DNA. Mutation rates were similar in tumours generated in the CBA and C57BL/6 strains when compared to human MM. Interestingly, all BALB/c tumour lines displayed high mutational loads, consistent with the known mutator phenotype of the host strain. The Wnt, MAPK and Jak-STAT signaling pathways were found to be the most commonly affected biological pathways. Mutations and copy number deletions also occurred in the Hedgehog and Hippo pathways.

Conclusions: These data suggest that in the wild-type murine model asbestos causes mesotheliomas in a similar way to in human MM. This further supports the notion that the murine model of MM represents a genuine homologue of the human disease, something uncommon in cancer, and is thus a valuable tool to provide insight into MM tumour development and to aide the search for novel therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-017-3382-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455120PMC
June 2017

Whole-genome landscapes of major melanoma subtypes.

Nature 2017 05 3;545(7653):175-180. Epub 2017 May 3.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland 4006, Australia.

Melanoma of the skin is a common cancer only in Europeans, whereas it arises in internal body surfaces (mucosal sites) and on the hands and feet (acral sites) in people throughout the world. Here we report analysis of whole-genome sequences from cutaneous, acral and mucosal subtypes of melanoma. The heavily mutated landscape of coding and non-coding mutations in cutaneous melanoma resolved novel signatures of mutagenesis attributable to ultraviolet radiation. However, acral and mucosal melanomas were dominated by structural changes and mutation signatures of unknown aetiology, not previously identified in melanoma. The number of genes affected by recurrent mutations disrupting non-coding sequences was similar to that affected by recurrent mutations to coding sequences. Significantly mutated genes included BRAF, CDKN2A, NRAS and TP53 in cutaneous melanoma, BRAF, NRAS and NF1 in acral melanoma and SF3B1 in mucosal melanoma. Mutations affecting the TERT promoter were the most frequent of all; however, neither they nor ATRX mutations, which correlate with alternative telomere lengthening, were associated with greater telomere length. Most melanomas had potentially actionable mutations, most in components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphoinositol kinase pathways. The whole-genome mutation landscape of melanoma reveals diverse carcinogenic processes across its subtypes, some unrelated to sun exposure, and extends potential involvement of the non-coding genome in its pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature22071DOI Listing
May 2017

Lost in translation: returning germline genetic results in genome-scale cancer research.

Genome Med 2017 04 28;9(1):41. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney, Australia.

Background: The return of research results (RoR) remains a complex and well-debated issue. Despite the debate, actual data related to the experience of giving individual results back, and the impact these results may have on clinical care and health outcomes, is sorely lacking. Through the work of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) we: (1) delineate the pathway back to the patient where actionable research data were identified; and (2) report the clinical utilisation of individual results returned. Using this experience, we discuss barriers and opportunities associated with a comprehensive process of RoR in large-scale genomic research that may be useful for others developing their own policies.

Methods: We performed whole-genome (n = 184) and exome (n = 208) sequencing of matched tumour-normal DNA pairs from 392 patients with sporadic pancreatic cancer (PC) as part of the APGI. We identified pathogenic germline mutations in candidate genes (n = 130) with established predisposition to PC or medium-high penetrance genes with well-defined cancer associated syndromes or phenotypes. Variants from candidate genes were annotated and classified according to international guidelines. Variants were considered actionable if clinical utility was established, with regard to prevention, diagnosis, prognostication and/or therapy.

Results: A total of 48,904 germline variants were identified, with 2356 unique variants undergoing annotation and in silico classification. Twenty cases were deemed actionable and were returned via previously described RoR framework, representing an actionable finding rate of 5.1%. Overall, 1.78% of our cohort experienced clinical benefit from RoR.

Conclusion: Returning research results within the context of large-scale genomics research is a labour-intensive, highly variable, complex operation. Results that warrant action are not infrequent, but the prevalence of those who experience a clinical difference as a result of returning individual results is currently low.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-017-0430-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408494PMC
April 2017

Whole-genome landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Nature 2017 03 15;543(7643):65-71. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston Road, Brisbane 4006, Australia.

The diagnosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PanNETs) is increasing owing to more sensitive detection methods, and this increase is creating challenges for clinical management. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 102 primary PanNETs and defined the genomic events that characterize their pathogenesis. Here we describe the mutational signatures they harbour, including a deficiency in G:C > T:A base excision repair due to inactivation of MUTYH, which encodes a DNA glycosylase. Clinically sporadic PanNETs contain a larger-than-expected proportion of germline mutations, including previously unreported mutations in the DNA repair genes MUTYH, CHEK2 and BRCA2. Together with mutations in MEN1 and VHL, these mutations occur in 17% of patients. Somatic mutations, including point mutations and gene fusions, were commonly found in genes involved in four main pathways: chromatin remodelling, DNA damage repair, activation of mTOR signalling (including previously undescribed EWSR1 gene fusions), and telomere maintenance. In addition, our gene expression analyses identified a subgroup of tumours associated with hypoxia and HIF signalling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21063DOI Listing
March 2017
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